Students at the undergraduate certificate level will learn about care and feeding of livestock. The coursework includes livestock management practices, animal nutrition, and veterinary technology. This level of study prepares students to enter associate's degree programs. A graduate certificate program in animal management encourages enrollees to focus their studies on one type of animal. Genetics, animal welfare, and equine health management are some areas that are explored.
Students are required to earn their high school diplomas or pass the GED examination in order to qualify for admission to undergraduate certificate programs. Applicants are required to complete a bachelor's degree in a related field in order to qualify for admission to the graduate certificate. Some graduate certificate programs in veterinary medicine, however, are intended for students who have completed or are concurrently enrolled in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.
Undergraduate Certificates in Animal Management
These programs are directed at students or professionals wanting to explore a career field without committing to a longer degree program. Most programs are completed in 1-2 years; some of the more popular certificate programs include those in livestock management, animal nutrition, and animal science. Livestock management prepares students to care for a herd or flock of animals with a combination of skills in livestock feeding, agricultural business management and animal husbandry. Animal nutrition focuses on feeding and creating healthy sources of food for animals, usually focusing on one or more common agricultural animals, such as cows, sheep, or pigs. Several programs exist for the care and management of common laboratory animals as well, such as mice or rats.
Students studying animal science take several classes in veterinary technology and applied science. Depending on a student's interests, elective courses include topics like medical science, laboratory practice, or agricultural business management. In general, those studying animal management will learn the care and feeding of various species of domesticated animals, and courses feature the following subjects:
- Animal nutrition
- Animal behavior analysis
- Equine studies
- Animal disease
- Animal reproduction
- Animal care ethics
Graduate Certificates in Animal Management
Graduate certificate programs in animal management are more rare and tend to focus on additional professional skills for students of veterinary medicine, animal care business management, or livestock management. These programs are completed in 1-2 years and concentrate on either animal science or agricultural business. Students enrolled in a certificate program which concerns agricultural animals concentrate on one or more specific species of animal, and on the effective business strategies concerning their care. Classes emphasize practical application of animal science as it relates to agribusiness, and students learn skills in managing a grazing range or preventing common livestock diseases.
Certificate programs focusing on animal science are aimed at students in a related background who are interested in education beyond the bachelor's degree level without necessarily committing to a master's degree program. Students concentrate on one or more species of animal or areas of veterinary science, developing their skills with genetics, breeding, clinical treatment of injured animals, or nutrition. Depending on the certificate program's focus, students take advanced science classes featuring subjects like animal anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Courses feature lab work, field work, and classroom lectures, and they include these topics:
- Bovine nutrition
- Animal welfare and epidemiology
- Equine health management
- Artificial insemination technology
- Ruminant physiology
- Agrarian organizational management
Popular Career Options
Students who complete these certificate programs often pursue further studies and complete degrees in related fields; many pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Other students may use their detailed knowledge of animal science in the following popular career options:
- Bovine ranch manager
- Feedlot manager
- Animal breeder
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Depending on their previous experience and education, graduates may pursue entry-level careers in veterinary science technology or agricultural production. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of agricultural workers was expected to decline by 6% in the 2014-2024 time period (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that animal care and service worker jobs were predicted to grow 11% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. Animal breeders made a mean yearly wage of $44,650 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
Certificate programs in animal management are more common than diploma programs and allow students explore a career field without committing to a more lengthy degree program. Graduates can continue their studies by obtaining degrees in similar fields or by pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.